For the purpose of this article, I refer to the American way in a loose and general sense. I do not come under any illusions that everyone in the US subscribes to the general trends, conditions and postures prevalent in their country. There is no way to write this article and avoid controversy anyway. I can only do my best not to insult sensibilities. And so, I write.
Whether it is regarding family, governance, technology or even entertainment, there seems to be a general pandering by the rest of the world to the American way of doing things. While America indeed a great country in many ways, it is also a shining example of a messed up people in others. It is my position that adopting the American way as a cure-all remedy to the ills of the world is a folly that will continue to mess up the lives of many peoples.
In governance, if it is not democracy – and if it isn’t democracy the American style – it isn’t good enough. Yet, many nations keep getting embroiled in turmoil because they set out to entrench just that. They should be looking for what works for them. That is an important point for my country Nigeria to take note of.
With regards too marriage and relationships, the world is bent on being seen to be doing it the American way too. So, America has great ideals about these things, but as I keep saying, ideals are far from reality. The reality is that the largely self-centred American way keeps producing dysfunctional families and a more and more dysfunctional nation. Speaking of marriage and relationships reminds me of the numerous amateur relationship experts on social media who dish out one-size-fits-all instructions for all. Anybody with a little sense knows that is hilarious. Read those counsellors with a huge bowl of salt by your side.
A lot of our techies here in Nigeria keep shooting themselves in the foot trying to ape the venture-capital system that works in the US. I keep saying to as many as will listen that this is not Silicon valley. conditions here are different. Infrastructure too. The general frame of mind here too is different. We must fashion a different approach. Few listen.
I remember mulling over the PRISM scandal and how the EU has taken a stand against the American government’s snooping of electronic communications. It was honourable and good that the EU took a stand. But guess what, it is a powerless stand. It is powerless because the EU has no credible alternatives to America’s Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, among others. They have been so busy aping, copying and embracing America that they have nothing. The most promising alternatives to some of those services come from – you guessed right – China (where the American way is not law).
But this article is not about The US versus China. I really do wish hat more people will not subscribe wholesale to the delusion that if something comes out of America, it must be good for the rest of us. While it may be good for Americans, there is so much richness and diversity across the planet that we are mostly operating below capacity. If we were harnessing our potentials properly, perhaps even the US would have one or two things to learn from us.
Different nations and races have deep cultural values and systems that if tweaked will work well for them in governance, education, family and even technological development. Sadly, most turn away from those to embrace the “American way”. One would think that after thousands of years of civilisation, the world would somehow know better than to think that there is one approach to anything that is perfect. The whole world aping one country? The human race is truly lost. Well, not exactly the whole world. Some of us are not biting. Very few of us. But it does look like humanity is fast losing its rich diversity in a bid to conform.
There is no singular system of governance that works for all. There is no singular system of anything that works for all. The rest of the world needs to stop aping the US. I love the US for some of the greatness that it exudes, but I am under no illusions that everything that comes out of that great country is good for me or my country. I will not fall for the folly of the cure-all prescription.